Is this your first time to the NFHCA Annual Convention?
Here's what you need to know.
First things first, what is the Annual Convention?
The Annual Convention is where members of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) gather yearly to discuss, connect, and learn. The event is, by and large, a professional development event where coaches discuss business as it relates to the NFHCA and by extension the sport of field hockey in the United States.
A typical Annual Convention will have several educational sessions — topics can range from field hockey skills and tactics, to subjects like leadership, student-athlete mental health, or career development. Primarily, though, the event is organized around the NFHCA — it is at the Annual Convention where members are asked to review and vote on operational items such as the organization's budget, review committee reports and NFHCA initiatives, and discuss pressing topics effecting our sport.
There are many items that members and institutions vote on during the Annual Convention — last year the membership debated and voted on the structure of the game of field hockey (quarters versus halves) and NFHCA initiatives like Open Collegiate Practice Day.
The NFHCA uses Robert's Rules of Order as a guide for conducting meetings and making decisions as a group.
Meetings are led by a member of the NFHCA Executive Board and follow an agenda. When a topic is presented in a meeting, members can make a motion to make a change or initiate something new — after the motion is seconded, members have an opportunity to discuss the topic before voting in favor of, voting opposed to, or abstain from voting on the motion. This year, we will be using our event app to vote — here's a cheat sheet for the event app voting process.
Members who are not physically in attendance at the Annual Convention also have the ability to designate a proxy so their vote is still counted on important topics (if you are interested in designating a proxy, you must email our executive director, Jenn Goodrich, before Annual Convention begins with your proxy designation).
Every year, a comprehensive packet of documents and agendas is sent to all registered convention attendees. It includes reports from the NFHCA staff and committee chairs — the committee and program reports typically recap the past year and may include recommendations or suggestions for the future.
The packet is a wealth of information and includes details about every topic covered during the Annual Convention. It's a lengthy document (and a great read!), so in order to prepare for the event, attendees are encouraged to review the portion of the packet that relates to their position. For example, if you're a high school varsity head coach, you should review the documents for the general membership meetings and the high school and club breakout meetings. Or if you're a Division II assistant coach, you should review the general membership meeting documents, the collegiate meeting documents, and the Division II breakout meeting documents.
Network, Network, Network
The NFHCA Annual Convention is one of the few events each year where member coaches from all levels are together in a room and it's a great opportunity to learn more about your colleagues and get to know people who coach at different levels. This is your chance to talk to your coaching hero (!) or connect with coaches you only ever see on the opposite sideline.
While there is business to be done, there are also many opportunities to socialize (AstroTurf Pregame Cocktail Reception) or let your hair down (Hockey Coachella sponsored by FieldTurf and hosted by Zag Sports — our Twitter poll said that "Welcome to the Jungle" will be the opening song).
The Annual Convention is also a great place to meet field hockey-related vendors whose products and services are tailored to meet your needs as a coach. There are over 25 vendors this year — you can find more details about all of them in the "exhibitor" section of the event app.
What's special this year?
Following the conclusion of the 2019 NFHCA Annual Convention, three new standing committees were created: the Sport Development and Outreach Committee, the Collegiate Rules Committee, and the Division I Legislative Committee. This will be the first opportunity for these committees to address the membership after several months of hard work.
At this year's NFHCA Awards Dinner sponsored by AstroTurf, the NFHCA will be inducting its 20th class into the Hall of Fame — it will be a special night for the three extraordinary women being recognized, but it will also be a celebration of 20 years of the Hall of Fame.
The 2020 NFHCA Annual Convention is also the setting for the opening of the NFHCA's presidential election. Both presidential candidates will address the membership (speeches will be streamed via Zoom for members not in attendance) and voting will begin later in the day (voting details were emailed to all members on January 8). The elected NFHCA President will lead the association for one term of two years (with a maximum of two consecutive terms).
The Awards Dinner sponsored by AstroTurf is the culminating event of the Annual Convention and of the 2019 season. It is where the NFHCA recognizes coaches with a variety of awards.
The 2019 members of the NFHCA Victory Club and Spiideo/NFHCA Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year are honored and the National Coaching Staffs of the Year are named. The evening is also set aside for the NFHCA's most-prestigious awards of the year: The Junior Hockey Award, The Lifetime Achievement Award, and the NFHCA Hall of Fame — and since we get to hear from the winners, the dinner is also a great source of inspiration.
Want more advice about how to navigate your first NFHCA Annual Convention? Send an email to email@example.com and we'll help you find your way. We can't wait to see you in Florida!